VANDENBERG, AFB, CA, September 28: The ground based interceptor (GBI) launched at 1:16pm PDT from the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Site at Vandenberg AFB, California. The interceptors propelled with an explosive glow of deep orange and white clouds of steam from its exhaust and moved slowly against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and soared into space as the ground trembled with a deep rolling resonance. The sound from the missile was oddly delayed as the interceptor accelerated beyond ear sight past the speed of sound as the visual view of a neat white vapor trail thundering against the blue sky never let the sound catch it.
Six minutes after launch, at 1:22pm PDT, the interceptor reached a closing speed in excess of 10,000 mph and collided with the target missile 120km into space. The long-range target missile, which was launched a few thousand miles away from Kodiak, Alaska at 1:00pm PDT, flew at speeds in excess of 10,000 mph.
The remarkable technical feat demonstrated today for the 7th time clearly gives our country security and reassurance that the current deployed 23 Ground Based Interceptors deployed in California and Alaska can and will protect our public from long-range ballistic missiles.